Let’s Play Questions… Vol. 5 – Food, Wine & Perfume


Happy Friday everyone! As I work through a super long test for the next perfume, I thought it would be fun to play another round of Questions. This time, the focus will be on food and wine pairings.

As a few of you know, my first love in life is gastronomy, not perfume (which actually ranks about fourth or fifth on my list of interests). This summer, I’ve become completely obsessed with the UK’s Masterchef Professionals series which focuses on Michelin-level fine dining and some of the top restaurants in the world. (It’s on BBC America, and is absolutely nothing like the heinous Fox Television reality show.) Under the auspices of Michel Roux, Jr. from the famed Roux culinary dynasty, the final three chef contestants are taken into the kitchens of some of the world’s best restaurants to create food that is actually more art than anything else. It’s an utterly addictive show, but it also made me think about what perfumes would be if they were specific food dishes or drinks.

So, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is this: pick any 3-5 perfumes and tell me what they would be if they were a specific dish and alcoholic beverage. The issue is not what the perfumes would directly translate to via their notes, but, rather, what dish and drink best embodies, represents or symbolizes that perfume in your mind. What is the feel of the perfume, for you, in culinary terms? You can pick any 3-5 fragrances that you love or, if you want to be naughty, that you hate. Or, if you like, you can pick 3-5 in the love category and have a separate listing for the fragrances that trigger horrible culinary/drink associations in your mind. Whatever you prefer. If you can, please share why you have made that particular pairing.

I know it’s not easy, because I was initially rather stumped on everything but the first of my choices, but I think this is what I would choose:

1. Vintage Opium: Szechuan Hot Pot & Red Zinfandel wine. Why? Because Opium feels like a fiery, spicy, smoldering flame of heat, and there can’t be anything hotter than a Szechuan Hot Pot (which is far too hot for me to even try it). The Red Zin wine because it often has some of the highest alcohol content amongst the red wines, and has a rich, dark, peppery, but smooth, intensity that seems to fit Opium.

2. Dior’s Mitzah: Boeuf Bourguignon and Tawny Port. Why? Because Boeuf Bourguignon isn’t a very complex dish, but it’s infinitely rich, luxurious, deep and smooth, just like the perfume. It’s also comfort food that can be done in a very elegant way. As for the Tawny port, it has the same golden rich sweetness that Mitzah can have, and the colour can represent the slightly leathered, honey nuances to Mitzah’s labdanum. That said, I’m a bit conflicted here as Ruby Port would work equally well.

3. Serge Lutens’ Fille en Aiguilles. No question in my mind: gingery sugar plums with Amarone wine. The sugar plums would be the spicy, fruited plummy molasses in Fille en Aiguilles, which would be matched by Amarone’s deep, rich, fruited intensity.

Noma salad. Source: www.tiboo.cn

Noma salad. Source: tiboo.cn. Even better close-up here: http://tinyurl.com/lh4ly62

4. Serge Lutens’ De Profundis. I struggled a lot with this one, but I think it would be a dish from the famed Noma restaurant in Copenhagen. A forager salad with dainty, purple, edible flower blossoms, a few sprigs of micro-greens, and edible leaves. The dish seemed to mirror De Profundis’ delicate colours and floral nature. As for the drink, perhaps a delicate Elderberry Cordial.

El Celler de Can Roca's candied, reconstructed apricot. Source: tripadvisor.com

El Celler de Can Roca’s candied, reconstructed apricot. Source: tripadvisor.com

5. YSL’s discontinued Champagne/Yvresse. This one is actually quite easy, thanks to my new summer addiction of the UK Masterchef Professionals series. The 3 finalists went to Spain’s legendary, El Celler de Can Roca, the #2 restaurant in the world behind Noma and run by the three Roca brothers. (Some rank El Celler de Can Roca as the best restaurant in the world.) The youngest Roca brother just does the desserts, and he recreated through molecular gastronomy an “apricot” the likes of which I have never, ever seen. The amount of work, science, and creativity that went into that dish was jaw-dropping. I can’t even begin to try to describe the process, or how that photo does not show an actual apricot. Yvresse is a very sparkling, peach-dominated, fruity fragrance, but that Roca dessert is what comes to mind when I think of it. And, naturally, it would be paired with champagne. It’s a gorgeous, gorgeous fragrance that has long been one of my favorites (and which I will get around to reviewing eventually), and it deserves the beautiful dessert from one of the world’s most famous, lauded pastry chefs.

I have to admit, there are a few perfumes that I hate that, mentally, I would link with the spoiled, rotten, green slime that you may find at the bottom of your fridge’s vegetable drawer. There are also perfumes which I adore and which would be totally represented by such comfort foods as fried chicken, pizza, or gooey caramel. (Actually, if I could have given an extra choice, it would be all about comforting caramel with perhaps hot Chai latte as a drink.) But these 5 are what stuck in my mind.

What would be your choices?